When you have a baby on the way- especially your first- it is very tempting to buy anything and everything on the market for your precious bundle.
You soon learn though, that you may not need- and baby may not like- everything that you purchase.
In my opinion, here is a list of things that are definite needs and things that you may not want to rush out and spend your money on.
Infant Car Seats: these are a definite must. And, something that you should purchase new (!!!)- UNLESS you have a friend that can loan you one. That way, you know FOR SURE that it hasn't been in an accident. Just remember to check the expiry date on the seat. Because of safety regulations, most infant car seats expire after 5 years. You will NOT be able to leave the hospital with baby in an expired car seat.
Bassinets and Moses Baskets: to me- these are unnecessary. They are beautiful and adorable, but are very quickly outgrown and just add to clutter in your home. I opted for a playyard that had a bassinet option. This playyard (play pen) has been a bassinet for my 2 boys (as well as for this one due in April) and has been a bed (the bottom of the playyard), once the bassinet was too small- for around their first year.
It was also used as a travel crib for sleepovers. And can be used as a change table when baby is small. In my opinion- this was a great investment.
Cribs and Bedding: Cribs will eventually be a great bed for baby. BUT, you do not have to rush out and purchase the crib and all of the bedding before baby arrives.
Many people choose to have their baby "room in" with them (sleep in their room or even in their bed) for quite some time after the baby arrives. This is very helpful with middle-of-the-night feedings and helps with bonding with baby.
As far as bedding goes, you can find adorable, full crib sets- if you want to- on kijiji. Or, if you opt for a sleep sack instead of blankets (some studies show this decreases the chance of SIDS), and you can find plenty of those on kijiji, as well. If you are nervous to buy bedding second hand- just store in a freezer for a couple of weeks after (kills any potential bed bugs or anything else)- then wash in hot water.
Baby clothes: People just LOVE buying baby clothes. So, my advice is to not buy much. You WILL be given baby clothes. You WILL find that your baby may wear things once (or not at all!!) before he/she outgrows it. You also may find that your baby lives in nothing but sleepers for months. :)
Great places to check for baby clothes are kijiji (people often sell boxes full of clothing at deep discounts), Once Upon A Child- for quality consignment clothing, or any thrift shop in your area. Babies are in their outfits for such a short time that they are usually in great condition- as long as they have been ruined with spit-up, puke or poop.
Other great places for baby clothes are your friends or friends of friends. You can usually find people willing to unload their baby's clothing for free- just to make some space in their homes for a short time (until next baby), or for good.
Extras: I consider extras to be things that are nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. Things like bottles and soothers- baby may not take either. It is best to purchase one or two and see if baby will take them. Such items are easily sterilized, so if you'd like- buy second-hand.
Swings- you may not believe it, but some babies do not like the swing. It is best to borrow this from someone to see if your infant like it or not. If it is a favourite- buy away! Obviously I am going to recommend kijiji or Once Upon A Child, if you do choose to buy.
Bouncy chairs- both of my kids LOVED theirs. I think these are a great item to get because they do not take up a lot of room (like a swing), and it is a favourite for most babies. You can find these chairs second-hand on kijiji or Once Upon A Child, as well.
Bumbo Chairs- these adorable, durable chairs can be great, but neither of my boys liked theirs very much. As well, it is meant to be used once baby can sit up (around 4 months), but by then, some baby's thighs are too chubby to fit in the leg holes. Also, they are NOT cheap. But, if you do want one, try to borrow one or check kijiji or Once Upon A Child.
Baby wraps and slings: These were a hit in my home. Both of my boys enjoyed the closeness of being strapped to me, and I enjoyed having 2 arms to do things with.
Wraps can be borrowed, bought second- hand or made yourself. There are TONS of tutorials like this one on making your own baby wrap.
Slings are trickier. These have to fit perfectly so baby is snug and safe. They need to be measured from your shoulder to your hip bone. In this way- it is tough to borrow one, unless you are the exact same height/weight as someone else you know. BUT, you can make one yourself with some basic sewing skills. Check out this tutorial or look for others on YouTube.
Diapers and wipes: obviously, these are a HUGE necessity. But there are options between cloth or disposable diapers, and you can choose to use washcloths instead of disposable wipes. Just be honest with yourself about how much extra laundry you are willing to take on (including soaking, drying, folding). There is also the option of using a cloth diaper service in most areas. This is great for people that aren't necessarily looking to save money, but still want to lessen the impact of disposable diapers on the environment. With my first, I did cloth diapers and washcloths about 50% of the time. Less with my second. I have no idea what will happen with the new baby.
Whatever you choose, be easy on yourself. Being a new Mom is difficult enough without beating yourself up about whether you love using cloth diapers or not.
Lastly, I will talk about Change Tables: These are something that you are told you definitely NEED for your baby. I can tell you that for baby #1, I rarely walked up the stairs to use ours and never even had one for baby #2. I mostly changed my babies on a couch or a floor. As long as you put a blanket down for baby (and your friend's couch!), everyone is happy.
If you do decide to buy, check out kijiji, for sure. Or, ask some friends if they have one to get rid of.
After my first child was out of diapers, we used our change table as a shelving unit for toys. You can find lots of repurposing ideas for change tables on Pinterest.
I do hope that any new Mom's out there find my list helpful.
What about seasoned Moms out there? Where there any items that you felt you desperately needed for baby, but never really used?
Oh- and you can check out a post I did previously on repurposing ideas for cribs and change tables once baby is done with them here.